Nightswimmer’s Creation Story
When he was a little kid, at the beach with family,
he watched a man swim out from shore
over criss-crossing whitecaps as a storm
pushed in. The man swam out of sight,
stayed in the water seemingly forever,
finally reappeared, pulled himself ashore, smiling.
How not to be afraid: dive in, fight through
while others stick to the sand, or worse—
stay home until idyllic conditions prevail.
From Nightswimmer’s exploratory efforts
starting early middle age, ‘til the Coast Guard
rescue on live camera, when the ActionNews haircut
labeled him a fool for taking on more distance
than he could manage—he’d emerged
from each struggle in a deeply peaceful state.
Always calm and bone tired and glad to be alive.
When he was a boy, he saw the way.
Todd Mercer (b. 1969) was nominated for Best of the Net in 2018. Mercer won 1st, 2nd & 3rd place of the Kent County Dyer-Ives Poetry Prizes and the won Grand Rapids Festival Flash Fiction Prize. His chapbook Life-wish Maintenance is posted at Right Hand Pointing. Recent work appears in: A New Ulster, The Lake, Mojave River Review and Praxis. Mercer and his wife Michaeleen Kelly adopted an awesome rescue dog (Garpur-Bradley) who only talks when it is important.